A new IDE concept

Programming environments (IDEs) have been stayed pretty much similar for almost 20 years or so. We have a working environment and editor. Light Table – a new IDE concept article hints that that things could be different and more advanced if we want.

Light Table – a new IDE concept article mentions that despite the dramatic shift toward simplification in software interfaces, the world of development tools continues to shrink our workspace with feature after feature in every release. Even with all of these things at our disposal, we’re stuck in a world of files and forced organization – why are we still looking all over the place for the things we need when we’re coding? Why is everything just static text?

Bret Victor hinted at the idea that we can do much better than we are now – we can provide instant feedback, we can show you how your changes affect a system.

Light Table is based on a very simple idea: we need a real work surface to code on, not just an editor and a project explorer.

Looks interesting.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    It seems that also Slashdot has noticed this same topic:

    Light Table: A New Spin on the IDE

    Bret Victor demoed the idea of instant feedback on your code. … Allowing the programmer to instantly see what his program is doing.

    The screenshots make this look like it could be genuinely useful

    There’s a Google group for those wanting to track development. There’s no code yet, but source is promised

    As such, I believe it only fair that the core of Light Table be open sourced once it is launched, while some of the plugins may remained closed source


    Here’s the funding plan:
    I’m happy to announce that we submitted our Kickstarter earlier today and are simply waiting for it to be reviewed.

    In other news, to save everyone the time, I’ll point out that 100 people are going to post the lighttable does what smalltalk did in the 80s. As with all IT and most CS stuff, there really is nothing new under the sun, just recycling. That doesn’t mean its bad, or reimplementation of a good idea is bad, just that it isn’t new.

    I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I think we do need a new generation of IDE which isn’t based around showing source files in tabs, but rather code snippets (functions, class definitions etc.) on some kind of desktop. When I’m debugging code I don’t want to jump through X files, I just want to see the X related functions so I can understand the programs flow etc.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Light Table – a new IDE concept

    The future is specific

    I’m going to make a bold claim: The future of tools isn’t in a better Eclipse or Visual Studio, it’s in easily created domain specific experiences.

    Light Table at KickStarter

    Light Table uhoaa uudistavansa IDE:n idean


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